Free Trail Conditions Widget For Your Trails
I'm one of the guys who manages trails at Pocahontas State Park in Virginia. Our clay soil doesn't do well in the wet so we try to encourage folks to use the 1 day per inch rule and ride fire roads when it is wet. The problem is that folks often come a fair distance to ride our tracks and its hard not to ride after a two hour trip.
soooo ... I coded a widget that keeps track of rainfall and posts trail conditions to our web site.
The various alerts look like this:
You can customize colors, triggers (amount of rain or snow), delays (how long to close trails), location and a few other things - like whether to display the "fire roads" messsage.
The way I built it, it will work for everyone in the US so I'm making it available to all of you. We're picking up the data costs and will never charge for it. If costs become a pain, we may add an ad to the widget but I hope that won't be the case.
To find out how to add the widget to your site go to:
Trail Alerts - Friends of Pocahontas State Park
Please reach out if you have any problems or suggestions.
Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
Along the lines of community based tools and apps... Check out
When you find an "issue" on a trail while riding, simply take your phone out, take picture, and text it in to the website with a brief description and presto... the location of the trail issue and description is geolinked to a digital map.
By taking a small amount of time to stop and participate, riders are helping with the "heavy lifting" by creating a crowd-sourced data set.
This data set is invaluable to advocates, trail stewards, volunteers, and land managers because it creates a picture in time of 'what' is happening on the ground and 'where' it is happening. The best part is that it will indicate trends and help with budgeting resources and planning.
This tool is usable by ANYONE with a smartphone with a working camera and text messaging enabled. It is the kind tool I had hoped IMBA would have created for it's members.
Thanks - we'll see if we can integrate it with our site. It could be a big help.
Originally Posted by CANADIANBACON
Thanks for this! We'll incorporate it into our local online trail map.
Originally Posted by o2fill
This is very nice, is there any way to set it up to use an individual weather station ID, for example KTXAUSTI135? Here in Austin there could be rain in one part of town that shuts a trail down and nothing in another. With all the personal weather stations around it could be refined to the individual trail. I know this isn't needed in most parts of the country but with the soil type / conditions here a small amount of rain can close a trail.
One question I think is relevant would be whether this widget can be localized to adjust recommendations based on local conditions?
I really do like your indicators. Very nice graphics.
For example, a single storm with 1 inch of rain creates a different set of conditions compared to a week of daily rain at .1" per day. The way our soil handles rain differs seasonally, also. Rain that occurs in the early spring before the trees are leafing out leaves the trails wetter for longer than the same storm in the middle of the summer when the trees suck up the water rapidly.
Each trail is also different. We have trails in a floodplain park that need a lot of attention. They don't drain all that well, but have been refined over the years to drain about as well as possible. They also flood completely a few times per year, usually requiring the whole park to be closed for at least a week after the water recedes, not just for soil moisture concerns, but also for clearing the significant debris that can accumulate. We have trails in hillier areas, but with heavy clay content and a LOT of seasonal seeps that dictate conditions more than individual storms. And we have trails in much hillier areas with more rock content that are more durable. A wide variety of conditions and each location needs to be considered on its own.
We currently crowdsource our trail conditions reports, but do not have an automated system for this. We have a conditions indicator on our website that gets changed manually based on regular reports from the trail (each trail tends to have several regular riders who report on conditions on a somewhat regular basis) or from current weather conditions (for example, we just switched our indicators over to the freeze/thaw indicator, which explains that folks should only ride the trails when temps are below freezing and the soil is solid).
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